Could today be a historic one for Americans? Is a former US president about to be indicted on criminal charges for the first time in the nation’s history?
Donald Trump’s arrest appears to be looming. The former president himself is waiting it out in his Florida mansion as a Manhattan Grand jury prepares to reconvene this afternoon to investigate Trump’s role in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election.
Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, is up early ranting – or “truthing” as he might call it – on his social media platform: “As Biden would say, “No, I mean it, I’m not kidding.” The Crime would be if I get charged!!!”
Daniels meanwhile is making light of the whole affair. “Anything exciting going on today?” she wrote on Twitter, sarcastically. In a separate post yesterday, she mocked her alleged former lover, referring to him as “tiny” and insisting: “I won’t walk, I’ll dance down the street when he is ‘selected’ to go to jail.”
But will Trump really be indicted today?
When the grand jury convenes at 2pm US time, they’re expecting to hear from at least one more witness. After that, it will vote on whether or not to indict Trump – though voting down charges is highly irregular. If the former president is given an indictment, he will appear in court in New York for his formal arrest and first hearing.
Police and security officials reportedly met on Monday at the New York Police Department headquarters to plan for his potential arrest and workers have begun erecting barricades around the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse this week in anticipation.
Trump’s lawyers said over the weekend that he will surrender if indicted and there won’t be a “stand-off at Mar-a-Lago”. In fact, far from resisting arrest, Trump has reportedly even told his advisers he wishes to be handcuffed when he is bought into court – to turn the whole episode into as much of a “spectacle” as possible.
This is likely all part of a plan to rile up his fanbase. Indeed, when Trump announced over the weekend that he expects to be arrested, he urged his supporters to “protest, protest, protest” against what he called the “corrupt and highly political Manhattan district attorney’s office.” On some far-right online message boards, die-hard MAGA fans are already plotting ways of preventing law enforcement from reaching Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
It’s worth remembering this Stormy Daniels investigation is just one of four ongoing investigations that Trump faces, all of which come with potential charges – the others being his role in the storming of the Capitol, the mishandling of classified documents found at his Florida home and an interference with the 2020 election results in Georgia.
But if you think an arrest from any of these investigations will stop him from running for re-election, think again.
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Fortunately for Trump, there is nothing in the US constitution prohibiting candidates with criminal records from holding office. In fact, through enraging his fanbase by painting the Daniels investigation as a politically motivated prosecution “witch hunt”, Trump seems to even think an indictment could be a boon for his 2024 presidential campaign.
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